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Increase in blind or partially sighted children

27th May 2014
The number of British children being registered as blind or partially sighted is increasing, says Blind Children UK (formerly known as the National Blind Children's Society).

childrenhospital1The charity are trying to raise awareness in order to help parents diagnose problems earlier. It says much of the rise is due to premature babies surviving, with one in 20 of those likely to be born blind.

It estimates the number of babies born with sight difficulties as a result of being premature has risen 22% over the past decade to more than 1,800 a year.

It says delays in diagnosis are leaving children unnecessarily impaired.

Advice from Blind Children UK

The earlier children are born, the greater the risk they will have of visual impairment.

If parents find any of the following symptoms in their children, then it be worth seeking medical advice:

  • Red, inflamed, watery or cloudy eyes
  • Excessive rubbing or poking of the eyes
  • Puffy or swollen eyelids
  • Moving or "wobbling" eyes
  • Unusual posture when looking at something
  • Bright light causing discomfort

The survey


The charity looked at data from health services across Britain. They found that since 2006, there had been a 9% rise in the number of children registered blind or partially sighted.

The biggest increase has been among those aged under five.

130 parents of children with sight problems were surveyed, a quarter said they had to wait longer than a year to have their child diagnosed.


Chief executive of Blind Children UK, Richard Leaman, said:

"Every day a child with sight loss goes without support.

"As much as 80% of a sighted child's learning takes place using vision. Without this, it's impossible for a young boy or girl to develop fully."

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